Does your child want to learn drums? Have they ever made a drum kit from nothing but pots and pans using pencils as drum sticks? Are you willing to provide the support and commitment needed as a parent to nurture your child’s interest in the instrument? No idea? Read on for this parents guide to drums. You can read a more in-depth version of this guide as part of our online drumming course on Drum 101.
I mean, why not flute? …or recorder? …or any instrument that isn’t huge, noisy and expensive? Well the answer is pretty simple – no other instrument quite has the same draw as drums. Go and see a live band and you’re instantly inspired by the rhythm and animation of the drummer. It’s one of the oldest instruments on the planet, second only to the human voice – we’ve had an innate need to hit things rhythmically for 165,000 years!
Is my child clever enough to play drums?
Despite all the drummer jokes out there drummers are far from stupid and the reason we put up with the abuse is since we realise explaining our natural superiority is a futile endeavour ;-). Revenge is sweet when we play a simple rhythm and then say “There you go, now you try it.”. Professor Frederic Ullen, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, concluded that there was a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving.
OK I’m sold, what are the bad points?
The last thing I want to do is put you off but setting expectations at this stage will avoid nasty surprises later down the line. Most of the below ‘myths’ can be overcome with a bit of thought.
- Drums are loud. This is true and you MUST make sure your child protects their hearing. There are however easy ways of reducing the volume.
- Drums are expensive. Drums can certainly be expensive but speak to your local drum shop and they’ll set you up with a bargain priced beginner level kit.
- Drums are big. Drums are pretty big – make sure you have a suitable space around 2.5m x 2.5m in size.
- Playing drums WELL takes a LOT of practice. This is very true but treating practice like a punishment is the perfect way to get your child to give up.
Is my child too young to play drums?
This is a tricky one. I remember wanting to play drums for as long as I can remember. However I didn’t start playing properly until I was 11 – that was a good age to start. Reaching the pedals on a full size kit can be tricky for younger students. If your child is under 8 years old and you think they’re particularly gifted I’d suggest taking them to a teacher who specialises in teaching younger kids.
What’s your view on childrens’ toy drum kits?
Toy drum kits are generally a bad idea and can actually put the child off playing the instrument. The cheap kids’ drum kits you get from toy shops or <sigh> Amazon are far removed from the real thing and rarely survive a year before being demoted to landfill.
Playing drums is fun!
Above everything else playing drums should be fun. As a parent the best thing you can do is to encourage your child and give them the best means within your budget to learn. Encourage practicing but don’t force it.